THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the government, including President Rodrigo R. Duterte, will not ease the pressure on telecommunications companies to improve their services.

At a briefing Thursday, DICT Assistant Secretary Emmanuel R. Caintic said the government has “no reason” to stop pushing for better telecommunications services.

“But at the same time, we should do our best, as government also, to alleviate problems with the permits.”

Telcos have cited slow permit approvals for delays to their infrastructure buildout, causing the government to verify the various agencies’ compliance with permit deadlines set out in the Ease of Doing Business Law.

The Palace reported Thursday that internet speeds have improved due to the construction of new communication towers and the installation of fiber optic lines across the country.

At the same briefing, the President’s Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. presented a report by Ookla, an internet speed testing site, indicating that mobile download speeds improved by 202.4% between July 2016 and December, while fixed broadband speeds rose 297.47% during the same period.

Ookla measured fixed broadband speed at 31.44 megabits per second (Mbps) in December from 7.91 Mbps in July 2016. Meanwhile, mobile download speeds improved to 22.50 Mbps from 7.44 Mbps over the same period.

Mr. Roque also reported a total of 2,939 telco towers were built between July and December.

The President in July 2020 told telcos to improve their services “before December” or risk shutdown.

Mr. Caintic said the DICT is already looking at a joint memorandum circular to “ease up” on the permits needed for the installation of fiber optic cable. He said the department hopes to release the circular by this quarter.

The construction of the national broadband project will start by July, he added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza